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A Tribute to the Delta Queen from South Africa

Jun 7, 2014

The Delta Queen has supporters and fans from all over the world, even from as far away as South Africa. Stephen Thompson, steam buff and poet, has sent us his tribute to the Delta Queen which we’re happy to present to our readers. Stephen, thanks very much for sharing!

Delta Queen

In ’27 she kissed the face
Of the California Delta
Like many before she forsook the shelter
Of her safely explored European birthplace
For a Pioneer’s life with the river tribe
Of the Western United States.
Who can doubt she’s a queen
So regal as she paddles up the stream
Her calliope like a God’s pan pipe
Spreading enchantment on the breeze.

Let the river flow high, let the river flow low
The pilot will show her where to go
The paddlewheel sings her waterfall song
As the whistle warns locks she’s coming along.
Her tall slender smokestack has a whisp of haze
Hinting of boilers where hell fires blaze.
On her decks softly glowing with warm lamplight
Presidents and Royalty journey safe through the night.
Morning paints a rainbow in the paddlewheel mist
Whilst bacon wakes the belly and coffee slakes the thirst.

Folks in the towns turn up to watch her pass
This fabulous image of the pioneering class
They wave to salute the history
They smile to honour the past.

But this vessel of steam that carried many mortals
Great men and common and women and babes
Safely along waters this eighty and more years
Has been charged and convicted of FUTURE life loss
Misguided men with their pens and statutes
Deciding who’s a killer or who they think not
Have chained up this free symbol of Pioneer Past
And sentenced her to the drudge of Hotel enslavement.
Oh woe to the people of the river towns
No more will their pride awake to her sight.

Stephen Thompson, South Africa

2 Comments »

2 Responses to “A Tribute to the Delta Queen from South Africa”

  1. A Tribute to the Delta Queen from South Africa - Message Boards Says:

    […] a wonderful poem from a steam fan in South Africa about the Delta Queen which can be seen at http://www.save-the-delta-queen.org/at-tribute-to-the-delta-queen-from-south-africa/ Enjoy! And thanks very much to Stephen Thompson for the wonderful […]

  2. Jo Ann Schoen Says:

    What a lovely tribute. Thanks for sharing. Long Live the DELTA QUEEN. Never give up, not ever!